Sunday, November 18, 2012


It's the most dangerous of things.  That moment when you can no longer deny it.  When eyes are swollen from tears and the sun set long ago, but bedtime is far away.

You have spent the hours, days, weeks, months now making ends meet.  And at the end of each night there has always been this moment, this moment of holding your breath.  Of sadness as the door shuts and there are no more grown up voices.

Last night, we stretched ourselves too thin.  And as darkness crept into our small apartment, it was filled with cries.  His and mine.  Responses, perhaps to pain, hunger, discomfort, exhaustion.  No matter.  We just cried.  Me, laying on my side, him crooked in my elbow.  Staring at each other, as if we were the only ones who could fix each other's pain.

Not as if.  This is true.  We are the only ones.  

And we fell asleep like that.  Waking up when it was still early, and still very dark.  Him eating and me forgetting to.  Counting down the hours, it seemed.  Not until morning.  But until 2.

His shadow darkened the doorway and all the hurt I'd been feeling, all the uncertainty, all the fear was gone.  Scared away by his big darkness.  And Judah laughed and I laughed, breathing deeper than I had all night.  Sinking back in the first gesture of comfort I'd made in six hours.  And we stay this way, us.

Judah keeps smiling, waving his arms and kicking his legs -- because he knows he can.  And he responds to the deepness of his voice with a deepness of his own and stares, even in the darkness finding the light in his eyes.

I saw it the first time they met, though I contributed it to something different.  I remember when Judah fit snugly in his two hands, no effort, just safely cupped there like such a small thing.  

And he doesn't fit there anymore.  But he still fits there on his chest.  The broadness of it too much for the span of all of Judah.  He lays there, sliding, burying his face, absorbing his smell. 

And I know he loves him.  In the way you can only love something if you've known it for as long as it has existed.  Someone, for as long as they've been alive.  In that same way, you can only understand growth if you were there before it happened.

I lay there.  Thinking this may be the first moment all day when I felt that everything was right.  The first moment all day when I felt whole and unafraid.

And I reprimand myself for this, before you beat me to it.  Because what truly makes me whole, is the little boy.  The one who looks like me.  And seems already too big to have ever been inside of me.

But the peace I felt then... I guess we call it hope.  That biting of the tongue, to keep from saying what just welled up in my heart.  The wishing and the knowing... I cannot only feel peaceful now.  I cannot count on this in such a way that every other moment is effected.

Perhaps, it is just that we don't want to feel alone.

But I know better than that.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Sometimes we get the chance to rejoice with someone.  We've walked this journey with them, and here they are.  At a place they never thought they'd be.

I did it with both my parents.  Watched both of them walk down the aisle.  Watched both of them build a brand new life, transforming into brand new people it seems.

I did it with my sister.  With her David.  From beginning to today -- every cup of coffee and late night run and every calming hug.  I was there.

I did it with Marty.

Today, I am doing it with Ashley.  At four o'clock she is getting married.  And I just smile, remembering all those times we sat at Starbucks, and all those times we walked down Second Street.  Both of us wondering: would our lives, our stories, always look like this?

I knew she'd find it.  The life and love she was hoping and praying for.  I knew it, in the way a friend knows things, because I saw her in a way she wasn't capable of seeing herself.  I didn't know how, or when.  But I knew.

And so today, we're going to go watch Ashley get married.  I'm already crying about it.

Partially because I am the most selfish of women.

But mostly because I just love Ashley, and I've been praying for this day for her for a very long time.

Mostly because she found a man who makes her laugh.  Who is her best friend.  Who has chosen her and is never going to leave.  A man who has followed her to Haiti and back.  Who understood her need for commitment... and family.

Good grief.  These tears.

I was looking at their engagement pictures, loving them, until I got to the ones of Chris, Ashley, and Chris' daughter.  Chris, you see, is a single dad (for about five more hours).  And during part their engagement photo session, Sophie was there.  Because little Sophie is a part of their lives.  She is a part of their story -- part of who makes Chris the man he is.  A big part.

So I'm sitting here right now with Judah asleep on my chest, he's wearing an oversized t-shirt, and breathing heavy.  And I just can't stop crying.

I keep thinking things are getting better.  Surely, they have to, right?  Surely it won't be like this forever.  But as far as I can see... this is how it is.  I feel like I'm always leaving him.  Like I blink and the weekend is over and we're back to long days apart and loading ourselves in and out of the car and coming home and crashing.  Waking up at 3 in the morning, wishing someone was there who isn't.  Staring at the shadows on the ceiling and the light through the windows, from the brightest security light.

I make meals for one and shower with the curtain half open.  And I get up in the morning and do it all over again.  Going days and days with no physical contact.  No hugs.  No spontaneous "I love you"s.

I don't want Judah to grow up quickly... but maybe it will be easier when the day comes that he can hug me.  And tell me he loves me.  Because he will mean it.  And he's not going anywhere.  He needs me.  And I need him.

And we will be fine, just the two of us.  I know that.  I wouldn't trade him for anything.  The thought of raising him and watching him grow up, blesses my heart in a way I never could have imagined.  Things are not bad.  I have built a solid, healthy life for us.  I have made ends meet and have laid out a solid foundation.  This morning, when we lay in bed laughing together, I was thrilled.  Saturdays are my gifts.

And everyone, I know, is tired of me worrying about this.  If I had a dime for every person who had told me to be patient, every person who had said "the right man will choose you", every person that said "Judah doesn't need a daddy", I'd be a wealthy woman.

But there's very little chance for me now.  To find a husband.  A father for Judah.  Working in a female-driven field, graduated from college, living alone; I attend a church occasionally where the men look at me and my bi-racial son as if we are untouchable.  They see me, carrying what they call baggage.  And can muster up enough grace to say, "you are beautiful, we love you, you will find someone".  But they do not mean it.  They just want me to stop talking.

I know that just because we cannot see "how", does not mean it will not be.  I know that so often, God is just calling us to believe him.  Believe Him.  But I can't hear anymore.  If I could hear what He had to say, then I would.  I know well enough to know, what He says is true.  That I can trust Him.  But I can't hear.  I can't hear past the quiet moments of hoping I cry out all of these tears before Judah is old enough to know what they mean -- that by the time it matters, I can be strong for him.

Especially since it's my fault that he won't have a dad.

But days like today, when I get to celebrate with Ashley, I swear there is a small part of me that still hopes.  That sees a silhouette, just beyond what I can see clearly.  Who will love us.  Us.  Who will take care of us.  Who will go to the door when a stranger knocks -- because that is a man's job.  Who will carry the heavy groceries and whose arm I fit perfectly under.  Someone who will be able to carry Judah on his shoulders.  And teach him how to shave.

And you will say, I can hear it now, that there are men to fill that role for Judah.  You say: he has what he needs!  He has his uncle David and his poppy and a bunch of well-intentioned men who swear, who swear, they aren't going anywhere.  Who love us, both me and Judah, in a very special way.  A way, which I am so thankful for.

But they are not "daddy".

My heart hurts through it.  Thinking maybe, I almost had that.  Not daring to be bold enough to ask for it.  Because asking just makes it hurt worse.

I sat in my mom's house the other night and watched her talk to her big man, arm reached high up and around his shoulder as he washed the dishes.  Across the room from me, brother David sat on the couch and Kat came from across the room and sat on top of him.  Not on his lap.  But on top of him.  Laying back, in the funniest, sweetest expression of comfort and trust I'd seen in a long time.  He reached up and kissed her jaw.  And talked in her ear.  And kissed her again.


I read this the other night, and it was the closest thing to "hearing" I'd managed in a while.  This little girl, Katie, in Africa makes me feel like less of a woman.  Like a hateful Christian.  And I know she would never mean to make anyone feel that way.  Which makes it worse.  But last month she wrote about how sometimes, trusting God is like leaving the edge of the pool .  About how He teaches us to swim, and we forget.  After so much time, we forget.  Then He calls us to the depths again, reminding us, I was the One, Anna.  I was the One who taught you how to swim.

How to risk.
How to trust.
How to be brave.
How to be strong.

Come, leave the edge.  The last time you were uncertain, I changed your life.  I will do it again.  I am doing it again.

Katie said, can I trust that He is making it good right now?